LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – State Police have bestowed a high honor on three local good Samaritans who are credited with taking down a robbery suspect earlier this month. The men chased the suspect down, and tackled him to hold him in place until police arrived.
It happened the night of November 5, as Daniel Bronson was leaving a restaurant on Robinson Road with his girlfriend’s father, Patrick Ellinger, and her brother, Patrick Ellinger the II. The men say they saw someone steal a 73-year-old woman’s purse outside the restaurant before taking off.
“I was kind of surprised at first when I saw it, but then I started running,” Bronson recalled.
State Police say Bronson, who plays quarterback for the University of Rochester, performed a “flawless tackle” when he caught up to the suspect, 31-year-old Matthew Biles. Bronson and the Ellingers then held Biles in place until police could get there to take him into custody.
Biles is also accused of robbing another elderly woman in the parking lot of the same restaurant the night before. State Police say Biles broke the 87-year-old victim’s arm in the process. “It brings that level of concern even higher when someone is preying on elderly members of our community,” said Major Steven Nigrelli, New York State Police Troop A commander.
State Police say the good Samaritans bravely served the community when they helped capture the robbery suspect. Friday morning, they presented certificates of appreciation to Bronson and Patrick Ellinger, who also accepted the honor on his son’s behalf.
The honorees’ family members gathered in the Lockport town courtroom to watch as the men were recognized. They said they were very proud. “We all try to raise our kids to do the right things and when they do, you feel lucky,” said Daniel’s father, Gregory Bronson.
For his part, Daniel Bronson says he would do the same thing again without hesitation, although State Police say this isn’t exactly the kind of thing they’d encourage. Getting involved like this could have been very dangerous, so police would ask others to just be good eyewitnesses.
Even so, the actions of the three good Samaritans that night are commendable. “I can understand sometimes instincts take over,” Major Nigrelli told the men.
Thanks to their instincts, the criminal justice process is moving forward against the suspect. Matthew Biles has been charged with two felony counts of Robbery and is being held in the Niagara County Jail awaiting his next court date.